Library

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Office: 8:00–4:30 M–F. Branch hours vary. Please call your branch's direct line with account and eBook questions.

703-324-3100
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 324
Fairfax, VA 22035

Jessica Hudson,
Director

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FCPL to Resume Normal Services & Introduce New Hours June 5

Welcome to Our New NormalFairfax County Public Library (FCPL) will resume normal services and introduce new hours Saturday, June 5.

Patrons will once again be able to visit FCPL branches without time or capacity limits to enjoy the full range of library services and resources.

Under the new expanded hours, regional branches will be open:

  • 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Community branches will be open:

  • 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
  • Community branches will not be open on Sundays.

Curbside services will remain available to patrons on days branches are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more about curbside service at the library.

Public PCs will be available for use at pre-pandemic levels: 30-minute sessions, with unlimited sessions per card per day.

In-person library programming, hosted indoors or outdoors, may resume as of June 5. FCPL will continue to offer robust virtual programming for all ages, which can be found on the FCPL online calendarYouTube channel and Facebook page. Learn about the top 10 ways to access FCPL resources at home.

Available meeting rooms will reopen for public bookings beginning June 5.

FCPL’s standard circulation procedures will resume or remain in place. This includes: returned materials will not be quarantined, items will be due after their normal circulation period, fines will be assessed for materials returned late, and holds will expire if not picked up before the pick-up date.

Ask Your Library chat support via the website and text messaging will continue to be available 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Branches are accepting donations but we recommend calling to check with your individual branch first.

Plexiglass shields at customer service desks will remain in place at this time.

All employees and visitors — regardless of vaccination status — are required to wear a mask while inside all Fairfax County facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Please do not visit a branch if you have COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone who tested positive or are awaiting COVID-19 test results.

Please find more pandemic-related information on the county’s COVID-19 webpage or the emergency blog.

Welcome to Our New Normal Read full article May 20, 2021 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/NewNormal1_FB-IG%20POST_0.jpg 1
FCPL and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

AAPI MonthThis Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) supports statements from the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association and American Library Association condemning ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes.

FCPL serves a large county with a diverse population and works to build community and end racism toward all people of color by replacing violence and fear with inclusiveness and enlightenment.

Your library is committed to the County’s One Fairfax policy of social and racial equity. We provide materials, create community programs, and have spaces that are open and welcoming to all.

In the words of Nelson Mandela: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

For parents and caregivers working to teach love and tolerance, FCPL offers racial and social equity resources to support your efforts and has curated a list of online resources about the AAPI community. For others wishing to learn more, we offer additional resources and events for all ages this month.


 

 

AAPI Month Read full article May 1, 2021 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/AAPI_FB_EVENT_0.jpg 1
Browsing Once Again: FCPL Reopens

Martha Washington Reopens

Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) branches reopened their doors to customers Monday morning after two months of curbside pickup and virtual services only.

At Reston Regional Library, customers were waiting at the door when branches opened at 10 a.m.

Elizabeth O’Malley, a Vienna resident, browsed the “hot picks” section toward the front of the library. “I’ve done some [curbside] pickup but I’ve missed the library,” she said.

customers at Reston RegionalFive-year-old Claire Dawson perched on a stool along the stacks, surrounded by her book choices.

“We were very excited to come today, it’s a great library,” said Claire’s grandmother, Barbara Canody.

Claire wanted scary books. “I like scary like Halloween,” she said. Their family also loves using FCPL’s eBook offerings and other materials, Canody said. Claire also picked out some Disney DVDs, including “Sleeping Beauty.”

By day’s end, 379 people had visited the Reston branch.

Wanla FreerLibrary staff members are as excited to have customers back inside as the customers are to browse the stacks. Wanla Freer has worked at Reston Regional Library since 1994. Earlier this month, the FCPL Board of Trustees presented her with the annual Staff Excellence Award, which is based on customer nominations.

“This is the happiest day,” Freer said of Monday’s reopening. “This is my home. Everybody knows me, and I know them.”

Sujatha Perakalapudi, another Staff Excellence Award winner, was happy to see customers again. “I like to talk with new people every day and help our community,” she said.

Across the county at Martha Washington library, Branch Manager Cathy Noonan accepted gifts and thanks from the Mount Vernon Rotary Club.

The library and its services offered “a refuge, a place of peace” during the pandemic, said Mount Vernon Rotary President Helen Walutes.

“I like to talk with new people every day and help our community.”

Martha Washington library also did brisk business Monday, with about 200 customers stopping by to check out materials.

Hannah Dorr browsed for new books with her mother and grandmother. Hannah had missed visiting the big stuffed owl that decorates Martha Washington’s children’s section, her mother said. While Hannah loves Dora the Explorer, she also discovered new books in grab bags put together by Martha Washington’s librarians for curbside pickup while the branches were closed, said her mother Jennifer.

Though staff has worked throughout the pandemic putting together virtual programming, checking in books, filling curbside requests and more, Charlotte Reineck missed the bustle of customer activity, she said. Reineck, the page manager at Martha Washington, is another Staff Excellence Award winner. On Monday she was checking in and reshelving books.

“I like creating order out of chaos and establishing relationships with patrons, the regulars,” she said.

FCPL library branches are open for interior Express Service Monday and Tuesday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Curbside services continue to be offered Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Martha Washington Reopens Read full article March 23, 2021 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/Martha%20Washington%20032221-6%20%281%29_0.jpg 1
FCPL Set to Reopen for Express Services March 22

Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) will reopen for interior Express Services Monday, March 22.

Customers will be able to visit FCPL branches for up to 30 minutes Monday and Tuesday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Curbside pickup of materials on hold will remain available to customers Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Capacity limits will be in place: up to 30 members of the public at a time may be in community branches and up to 60 may be in regional branches.

Library programming will remain virtual and meeting rooms will remain closed at this time.

Ask Your Library via the website and text messaging will continue to be available 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Please do not visit a branch if you have COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone who tested positive or are awaiting COVID-19 test results.

We will continue to offer robust virtual programming for all ages, which can be found on our YouTube channel and Facebook page. Learn about the top 10 ways to access FCPL resources at home.

Please find more pandemic-related information on the county’s COVID-19 webpage or the emergency blog.

Learn more about curbside service at the library.

FCPL opens for Express Services March 22 Read full article March 5, 2021 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/FCPL_Express-services_FB_0.jpg 1
Something Told, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something To Do

four circles with imagery for something "told" "new" "borrowed" and "to do"To wish you good luck in the new year, FCPL is offering:

Something told: One Community, Many Stories

Something new: eBooks of the Month

Something borrowed: 2.1 million items available!

Something to do: Winter Reading Challenge

Our new One Community, Many Stories virtual storytime series will feature each month a member of a marginalized community reading a children’s book that reflects their lived experience. Stay tuned to our events calendar for more information and schedule details!

Beginning January 1, we’re launching an eBook of the Month program, which will offer two hand-selected eBooks for unlimited use each month. Click here to learn more and find out which titles we’ve chosen for January!

For more reading-related fun in the new year, plan to join in our new Winter Reading Challenges for all ages. Our virtual Summer Reading Challenges were a huge hit, so we didn’t want to wait a whole year to do it again! Plus, we’re eager to introduce Beanstack as our new platform for reading challenge activities and logs. Stay tuned to our website and social media for sign up instructions, and mark your calendar for a virtual author event with Gale Galligan on January 11 to kick off the youth winter reading challenge.

four circles with imagery for something "told "new" "borrowed" and "to do" Read full article December 30, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/2021offerings_header.jpg 1
FCPL Hosts December Food Drive

Food for Fines 2020 Banner

Fairfax County community members can help their neighbors and reduce their FCPL fines by up to $15 this December.

Donations of nonperishable food items can be made at all currently-operating branches except Access Services. Each food item donated will reduce library fines by $1, up to a maximum of $15 per account.

This donation drive is the third time FCPL has partnered with Food for Others, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides food to local families in need. Donations will be accepted Dec. 1-31.

Most needed items include:

  • Canned chili
  • Canned tomato products (crushed, peeled, diced, etc.), 4 oz. – 1 lb.
  • Canned meat (chicken, beef, turkey, or seafood), 2 oz. – 15 oz.
  • Rice, 16 oz. packages
  • Spaghetti sauce, 14 oz. – 1 lb. (ideally in cans instead of glass)
  • Canned fruit (packed in fruit juice instead of syrup) 11 oz. – 20 oz.
  • Dried or canned beans (black, kidney, pinto, etc.)
  • Pasta
  • Fruit juice (100% juice) 32 oz. – 64 oz.

FCPL is unable to accept donations of:

Items that are more than three years expired, opened items, food that is not labeled, homemade items, or cooked food.

"Food for Fines" with illustrations of canned and dry food goods Read full article November 18, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/food-for-fines_2020-hero.jpg 1
Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees Welcomes Two New Members

The Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees welcomed two new members at its October board meeting.

Dranesville District Supervisor John W. Foust appointed Sujatha Hampton to represent that district, which includes the Dolley Madison, Great Falls, Herndon Fortnightly and Tysons-Pimmit Regional library branches.

Lee District Supervisor Rodney L. Lusk appointed Keith Foxx to represent that district, which includes the John Marshall and Richard Byrd library branches.

Hampton currently works as the education chair for the Fairfax County NAACP. She is the author of the novel As It Was Written, published in 2010, and has held a variety of faculty and consultant appointments at the University of Virginia (UVA) and the George Washington University (GW). She holds a Ph.D. in special education from The University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in special education from GW and a bachelor’s degree in French from UVA.

Foxx currently works as an engineering program management consultant executive for RK&K  in Washington, D.C. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Howard University and sits on the board of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Metropolitan Washington.

The Library Board of Trustees is responsible for library policies and for making budget recommendations to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The 12-member volunteer board comprises: one member from each of the nine supervisory districts in Fairfax County, each appointed by the district supervisor; one member-at-large, approved by the chairman of the Board of Supervisors; one member appointed by the City of Fairfax Council; and one member nominated by the Fairfax County School Board.

The library board’s policies support One Fairfax, Fairfax County’s social and racial equity policy. One Fairfax commits county government and public schools to intentionally consider equity when making policies and delivering programs and services based on the premise that all residents deserve an equitable opportunity to succeed — regardless of their race, color, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, disability, income or where they live.

Library board meetings are usually held the second Wednesday of each month (except August) at the George Mason Regional Library, located at 7001 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. Meetings are currently being held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit the Fairfax County public meetings calendar to confirm dates and locations.

FCPL Logo Read full article October 14, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/fcpl_logo_new%20tagline_rgb.png 1
Virginia Library Association Awards Miriam Smolen 2020 Trustee Library Award

Miriam Smolen

The Virginia Library Association (VLA) awarded Miriam Smolen its 2020 Trustee Library Award, which recognizes distinguished service to libraries or a library in Virginia. Smolen joined the Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) Board of Trustees in 2014 and is its immediate past chair; she continues to serve on the board as the Providence District representative.

“Our libraries are a foundation of our public life, and I wanted to support this jewel of a public resource,” Smolen said.

Smolen has worked diligently, building relationships and bridging divides, to accomplish her present and future goals of both expanding ongoing funding for FCPL and expanding community access to library services by increasing branch hours.

“Trustee Smolen’s guidance and dedication the last several years has been invaluable,” said FCPL Director Jessica Hudson. “During her tenure as chair, we received support from the county’s Board of Supervisors to expand and standardize library hours. Although we won’t see that happen this year due to pandemic-related budget changes, it’s clear that our community’s assessment of FCPL’s value has grown under Trustee Smolen’s leadership.”

That advocacy is her most important contribution, Smolen said.

“I am most proud of the work our board has done in advocating for more library resources for our patrons and the whole community. Individually, and as a board, we have developed strong relationships with each supervisor, and educated them and the public on the huge variety of services provided by the library, but also the tremendous need for more access and materials,” Smolen said.

During these challenging times for library funding and support, Smolen’s work will provide a strong foundation for budget planning when it is time to request funding for the library system in future fiscal years, according to the news release from VLA.

Even during a global pandemic, FCPL continues to serve Fairfax County residents in innovative ways, Smolen said.

“Our community should know that the Fairfax County Library is filled with devoted, creative and public-minded staff.  They were, and still are, working through the COVID-19 crisis to keep providing services and books to residents stuck at home,” she said.

Miriam Smolen Read full article September 25, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/Miriam.jpg 1
12 Fascinating Facts About Fairfax County
black and white photo of women picketing for the right to vote outside the White House in 1917
Photo Associated with Occoquan Workhouse Historical Marker in Lorton

Fairfax County Public Library explores a dozen intriguing people and places from around the historic county.


By Lisa Kern, Branch Manager at Oakton Library


Formed in 1742, Fairfax County predates the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the start of the Revolutionary War by more than 30 years. Over the course of nearly 300 years, the county has been home to numerous notable residents and historic events.

The 455 historical markers that dot Fairfax County roadsides, parks, and other local sites commemorate many of those individuals and occasions. Some describe well-known people and places like Clara Barton, Manassas, Mount Vernon, the Battle of Ox Hill, Mosby’s Raiders and Lord Fairfax.

Other markers, however, tell the stories of lesser-known figures and events, providing a treasure trove of historical gems that might surprise and intrigue many a local resident. Read on to discover a dozen of the more obscure and fascinating markers of Fairfax County — selected from the Historical Marker Database — along with their descriptions. Check out the full listings at HMdb.org, and learn more about local and regional history by tapping into the resources of the Virginia Room, a special collection of history and genealogy within Fairfax County Public Library.

The Big Fire | Herndon

On the night of March 22, 1917, a fire that started at a nearby livery stable consumed downtown Herndon, including a portion of Station Street and much of Pine Street. Although the use of dynamite prevented further devastation, 14 buildings were lost. This fire served as the catalyst for the purchase of fire equipment and the later formation of the Herndon Volunteer Fire Department.

Ferenc Nagy | Herndon

The founding father of Hungarian democracy and a civil rights leader, Nagy lived in Herndon from 1947 to 1979. Elected in Hungary’s first democratic election, he served as prime minister of Hungary from February 1946 to May 1947, resisting attempts by the Hungarian Communist Party to become a puppet of a Soviet backed police state. In 1947 he resigned under duress (the kidnapping of his son) and gave up the premiership in return for his son and 300,000 Swiss francs. He was subsequently granted asylum in the United States.

Florence Jodzies | Oakton

In 1934, at her home Harmony Farm in Oakton, Florence Jodzies founded the Vale Home Demonstration Club, affiliated with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. An excellent speaker and writer, Jodzies campaigned for better living conditions in rural communities, including the need for improved roads, indoor plumbing and access to recreational facilities. In 1936, as state library chairman of the Virginia Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs, she developed the Federation’s library project to bring books, magazines and literature to rural Virginians. Designed to “bring improvement of mind and refreshment of soul” to members and their communities, by 1938 the project was adopted by clubs throughout Virginia.

Hybla Valley Airport | Alexandria

Virginia’s first airport permit was granted to Elvin W. Robertson’s Hybla Valley Airport in February 1929. As president of Mount Vernon Airways, Robertson utilized the airfield as a site for barnstorming and air circuses. Robertson, Fairfax Supervisor Chairman W.F.P. Reid, and the president of Germany's Zeppelin Company envisioned the field as an ideal airport for the Hindenburg’s passenger and mail service. Additionally, the site was a contender for the Washington, D.C., regional airport. During World War II U.S. Navy pilots trained at Hybla Valley, and government surplus aircraft were sold there. Ashburn Flying Service operated the field from 1945 until its closing 1956.

Ilda | Annandale

Ilda, a community located at the intersection of Guinea Road and Little River Turnpike, came into existence after the Civil War and lasted into the first half of the twentieth century. It originated when two freedmen — Horace Gibson and Moses Parker — purchased property on the north side of the turnpike from the Gooding family and established a blacksmith shop. In time, a racially mixed community grew to include a post office. According to tradition, the name “Ilda” was a contraction of the name Matilda Gibson Parker. Descendants of Gibson and Parker were probably buried in a nearby cemetery, perhaps originally created to accommodate people enslaved by the Gooding family. Their remains were relocated in 2008.

Ira Noel Gabrielson | Oakton

Oakton resident Dr. Ira Noel Gabrielson was a pioneer conservationist, distinguished field ornithologist and renowned author. He served as the first director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and was an international leader of conservation projects. Gabrielson founded and served as the first chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and first President of World Wildlife Fund-US. For his life’s work, he was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1978. His land, between Leeds Road and Difficult Run, is a Fairfax County park known as Gabrielson Gardens Park.

Laura Ratcliffe | Herndon

Confederate spy Laura Ratcliffe was born in Fairfax County in 1836. During the Civil War she met Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, who introduced her to then-Lt. John Mosby in 1862. Mosby credited her with preventing his capture early in 1863, noting, “My life as a partisan would have closed that day.” Ratcliffe and other informants provided Mosby and his Partisan Rangers (43d Battalion, Virginia Cavalry) information that helped them raid Union outposts, communications and supply lines. She married Milton Hanna in 1890. Ratcliffe died in 1923 and is buried nearby in a family cemetery.

Mystery of the Centreville Six | Centreville

In June 1994, a well-preserved male skeleton was found buried in a then-wooded area and reported to authorities. Remnants of a woolen uniform jacket with military-style brass buttons covered the upper half of the remains. Three years later, forensic anthropologists and archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institution and Fairfax County Archaeological Services explored the site further and found five additional burials, all in a row. After extensive examination of forensic data, as well as genealogical and military records, researchers concluded that the men were among the earliest casualties of the Civil War. They died during or after a fight at Blackburn’s Ford July 18, 1861, when Confederates under Gen. James Longstreet blocked a Federal column under Daniel Tyler that attempted to cross Bull Run. On June 10, 2006, the six soldiers were reinterred with full military honors in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts.

Nike Missile Site, Fairfax
Nike Missile Site, Fairfax

Nike Missile Sites | Fairfax, Great Falls and Lorton

During the Cold War, a ring of Nike anti-aircraft missile sites defended the nation’s capital, reminiscent of the perimeter of forts that protected it during the Civil War. The launch control equipment for one of the three Nike complexes in Fairfax County was located just east of Fairfax. To the west stood the missiles, poised on above-ground launchers. The U.S. Army (1954–1959) and the Army National Guard (1959–1963) operated the battery. Built to oppose Soviet air attack, this complex and those in Great Falls and Lorton were three of 13 Nike sites that surrounded Washington and Baltimore.

Occoquan Workhouse | Lorton

In the Occoquan Workhouse, from June to December 1917, scores of women suffragists were imprisoned by the District of Columbia for picketing the White House demanding the right to vote. Their courage and dedication during harsh treatment aroused the nation to hasten the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The struggle for woman’s suffrage had taken 72 years.

Thermo-Con House | Fort Belvoir

In 1948, the Department of Defense worked with Higgins Industries to develop a standard house design to meet the Army’s housing shortage. Higgins Industries designed and mass-produced landing craft during World War II and held the patent for “Thermo-Con,” a cement material that expanded as it cured. The renowned industrial architects Albert Kahn & Associates designed the prototype in the International style, and the 410th Engineer Battalion completed the building in 1949. Due to its innovative design and construction techniques, the house was placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1997. In 2000, the Army renovated and returned ‘Thermo-Con’ House to use as distinguished visitor housing.

WWII POW Camp Site | Fairfax

One of seven work camps in the commonwealth of Virginia, a state road work camp located in the vicinity of this site housed 199 German prisoners of war from July to November 1945. Prisoners worked on local farms to alleviate the labor shortage associated with the war. On November 16, 1945, following the end of the war, all work camps closed and the prisoners were sent to Camp Shanks, New York, before eventually returning to Germany. The marker can be reached from the intersection of Government Center Parkway and Ridge Top Road, across from the parking entrance to apartments and retail on Ridge Top Rd., behind the storage facility.

black and white photo of women picketing for the right to vote outside the White House in 1917 Read full article September 14, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/fairfax-facts_historical-marker_occoquan-workhouse.jpg 1
September is Library Card Sign-up Month

Library cards are more powerful than you know

celebrate library card signup month

September is the American Library Association's annual Library Card Sign-up Month! This year, Wonder Woman is the honorary chair, embarking on a new mission to champion the power of a library card.

Use the buttons below to register for a card, learn all about the benefits of your library account, search the library catalog, and discover services available during COVID-19.

Comic book-style illustration of Wonder Woman reading a book among palm trees with text: "Libraries are wonderful! Celebrate Libarary Card Sign-Up Month with Wonder Woman this September" and Libraries Transform, ALA, OverDrive logos Read full article September 2, 2020 /library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/Wonder%20Woman%20%28ALA%29.jpg 1
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